Here are some medical treatments as recorded by Sir John Oglander, a prominent Royalist politician on the Isle of Wight during the Civil War. Now I know as a historian we shouldn’t really look back on old recipes and medicines and mock. Medical science was in its very infancy in the Seventeenth century and it is really our understanding of their logic that is at fault. Old remedies were often part of folklore or cultural traditions that built up over the years to make sense of the chaotic, seemingly random and confusing world. That said, every now and then you come across some that are just so mind bogglingly strange that it makes you wonder if the person writing them down wasn’t taking the piss a little.
FOR THE PILES
Send for leeches and presently let them bleed well.
Ouch, just ouch. Who would put them there for you?
FOR ANY OLD ACHE, OR TO EASE THE PAIN OF THE GOUT
Take wall-snils, a score: of rue, a handful. Shed the rue small and then beat that and the snails together. Then seethe them in a pound of badger’s grease and apply it warm to the place affected.
Wh.. what is Badgers grease, and where can I get some?
A RECEIPT FOR THE GOUT
Apply to the place infected fresh oysters, with the water that is in them, and bind them on with a cloth. Change it as occasion serveth.
This one is fine.
GOOD IN THE GOUT
Take the pissell of a great boar and tie it fast before you kill him, so that no urine may be lost. Then take the flick of the boar and put it into the neck of a bladder and mingle it with the urine. Let the bladder hang a month. Then pierce it a therewith anoint the place infected with the gout.
Baggsy I’m not the guy that has to tie the knot in the live boar’s penis.
FOR A BRUISE
Horse-dung, fried, is an excellent thing for a bruise.
Not taken orally, I presume. Now he’s just having a laugh. Surely?
Picture courtesy of RobertFrost1960 http://www.flickr.com/photos/32157648@N08/4763023482/